A co-educational private school for Preschool–Grade Eight

Student Driven by Engineering Process

This week’s #FeatureFriday highlights Grade 8 student Jacob Z. Jacob was recently cast as Maurice (Belle’s father), in our production of Beauty and the Beast Jr. Jacob was tasked with creating and building Maurice’s invention. He was given some materials from a science classroom and had complete creative control of what the creation looked like. 

Pictured here is Jacob with Maurice’s invention that he created for Beauty and the Beast Jr.

Get to know more about Jacob, the process of building Maurice’s invention, reflecting on Beauty and the Beast Jr., and more below. 

Q+A with Jacob

How long did it take you to build your prop for Beauty and the Beast?

Building the prop took me around 2–3 hours, with some time in advance to brainstorm on it.

What directions did Mrs. Brower (Arts/Theater Arts/Upper School English Teacher) give you? Did you have any guidelines you had to follow, or did you have the creative freedom to go in any direction?

I didn't really have any guidelines for the project, so I was able to have the freedom to make my machine look whatever way I imagined it to be.

Where did you get the materials?

Pretty much all of the materials were given to me for the invention from Mrs. Cirrotti's classroom.

Where did you come up with the idea?

I didn't have an exact vision of the invention at first, but it was one of those things that I just came up with along the way.

What was the most challenging part of building the prop?

I enjoyed the process of making the prop without much issue, so I didn't run into any challenges or setbacks. I mainly unutilized hot glue, which is quick and efficient and worked very well for my creation which made it very easy because of how quickly it melts and dries, so I didn't hit any real roadblocks. The most challenging part of the process was the beginning because I was having a bit of a hard time figuring out what to do.

What was the easiest part of building the prop?

Once I got going with the creation, I got into a flow with making it, and I just found it generally easy. 

Pictured here is Jacob playing the role of Maurice and Cameron playing the role of Belle.

How did your castmates react to you building the prop?

From their reaction, they thought it was pretty neat, and there were definitely some "Hold up—why are there cassette tapes attached to what's supposed to be a 1700s machine?" I totally understand that it seems a bit weird having all those semi-modern devices building up the machine, but I just worked with what I got, and it ended up turning out pretty good in my opinion, even though it stood out a bit. 

Do you typically build or create other things on your own?

It has been an interest of mine to make creations that sometimes actually do things or just for fun through my childhood. I have always had an interest in the engineering and the 3D artwork field because I love to just create things that have a use and sometimes are just for their artistic purposes. 

Do you think you’ll continue to build things in the future?

Going into high school, I will have so many amazing opportunities with great engineering programs that I will definitely take part in and learn more about.

What was your favorite part of being in the play?

Doing the play itself was a ton of fun, but what I really love is getting to know people that are in the cast and just spending time with friends going to play practice, and participating in all the aspects of being in the production.

Was this the first Far Hills play you participated in? If not, what other plays have you participated in? What were the roles you played? 

Beauty and the Beast Jr. was my second Far Hills play, and my first was Seussical in Grade 6. In Seussical, I played a minor role of Vlad Vladikoff, the evil vulture, so Beauty and the Beast Jr. was my first performance playing a major role.

Click here to view our photo gallery from Beauty and the Beast Jr.